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Of an October that I did not live


Lenin was a childhood idol of mine. Source: TIME Magazine

Some thoughts and recollections on the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution.

During my Upper Primary and High School years, I was an unabashed communist, though I was, and still am reluctant to admit it. I was not associated with the “Party” in any capacity whatsoever, but I am still immensely ashamed of my naivete. Looking back, if I had paid enough attention to what I was reading, I could have figured out how ridiculous the ideas were, but I didn’t, and I need to come to terms with that.

But this is not about how I became a Centre – Right Liberal or ‘Sanghi’ in CPM parlance. This is about the October Revolution. Or rather, this is my recollections of having being fantasized by it.

I do not remember where I first read or heard of the October Revolution – I probably read it in one of the Children’s Encyclopedias that were at home. I remember being absolutely fascinated by the character of Lenin, who in my mind (then) had made the world a better place, not only for his people but for the whole world through the establishment of the Soviet Union. In my mind, the Soviet Union – who helped us launch our first Astronaut and scared the Americans from intervening in the ’71 war, and whose successor state, Russia was our greatest arms provider, all led to my innocent mind falling to the perception that the “revolution” was a desirable consequence.


What I did not know was the ultimate consequences of the “revolution” was – I was presented with only one side of what had happened. The death, destruction, the loss of life and property were all hidden, put into footnotes of history.

The next I encountered the Russian Revolution was in the Tenth Standard State Social Science Textbook, where we are taught of the brutal reality of living in Tsarist Russia, but not the horrors that followed, or the coup that Lenin undertook when the Socialist-Revolutionary Party won the 1917 Elections to the Russian Constituent Assembly. If you doubt what I am saying of how only one side was presented, please see this link.

It was only due to my own curiosity and need to know that I learned of the things that my textbook had most probably omitted knowingly. Many of my fellow classmates were never taught this, and will probably never hear of the Elections, or the “Kulaks” that were killed en masse by Lenin’s orders, or that the Russian Famine of 1921 that was caused by his “War Communism” killed 5 million.

One could drone on and on about the October Revolution and its consequences, and this is not my last word on it either. But what terrifies me is that there are thousands of bright inquisitive children who will only be told one side of the story, and will grow up believing it, never to hear of the the other side.

History, after all, is written by the victors. The Soviet Union may not exist today, but the eulogies that I have seen tell me that they have won the war of propaganda.


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